Audacious Idea Three: A Matter of Scale

Small AND Large Scale Beekeeping

by Marla Spivak

With time, there could be a separation of bee stocks and management practices between large-scale and small-scale beekeepers. For example, small-scale beekeepers could rely on locally and regionally bred stocks (and swarms collected from Tom Seeley’s small colonies!), and end their reliance on queens, package bees and nucs from other regions. Small-scale beekeepers in different regions would need to develop new management practices that work in their region, including when they can obtain new bees. The results would be more locally adapted stocks that require fewer or no mite treatments.

US migratory beekeepers loading tractor-trailer load of bees for transport from South Carolina to Maine to pollinate blueberries.

US migratory beekeepers loading tractor-trailer load of bees for transport from South Carolina to Maine to pollinate blueberries.

Large-scale, migratory beekeepers that move bees for pollination services and honey production, would obtain queens, packages and nucs from current commercial bee suppliers. Large-scale beekeepers would use bee-appropriate livestock management principles, such as treating in unison right before or after almond pollination, or during other appropriate window of time(s), and removing (eliminating) diseased colonies from apiaries. All states could employ a 2-3 mile limit between apiaries owned by different beekeepers, whether an apiary has 3 or 200 colonies, to reduce density of colonies and limit horizontal transmission everywhere.

Get your tickets – help the bees.

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